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Amygdala

Posted Aug 07 2009 5:43pm

On Wednesday, the clinic was the busiest I’ve ever seen. There wasn’t enough chair for some of the patients and/or their families. There was a practice manager in the counter. We hardly see each other because she uaually leaves before my appointment time. She was staying back a little longer to catch up with things and I had a slightly earlier appointment. She was happy to see me.

I asked her permission to sit on the chair in the corridor in front of pathologist’s office. I was already out of breath from walking the short distance and there was no way I could cope standing.

As soon as I get to the chair, Dr TL noticed me. He was going up and down on the corridor in hurry. He mentioned to me that his blog was getting busier, and I gave him smile and thumbs-up.

I read a book while I waite. A usual Wednesday receptionist noticed me and said hello. It felt a little strange to walk into Dr TL’s office while there are still few more patients waiting.

Dr TL seemed to be a little concerened that intention of his blog may have been misunderstood. I was not going to explain my friend’s intention based on my assumptions. I knew she would challenge to his view, but nothing would be personal.

I lost a bit of weight again. He was a little concerned. I reminded him that my weight goes up and down all the time. I’m sure it will go up again soon. I was starting feeling okay, though. He picked it up and told me that he was happy to see me doing better.

While checking my blood pressure, he told me he was going to write about terrorism next. I laughed with excitement. He is enjoying blogging now. And he amazes me with the variety of interests in his mind. I admire him for that. I’m curious what he is going to tell us and how he is going to provoke our mind.

He listened to my heart, then checked my PFM record at home. Asmol is not helping. The record showed lower PFM performance.

When we tried the PFM, it showed slightly better record than the ones at home. He joked that I should move into his office. The air is warmer, and possibly better. (because there is no dog hair.) We kept joking and pointed out things that we have and we don’t have for me to move in. Finally, I pointed out that I cannot bring my dog with me. So, he gave up the silly yet funny suggestion.

Then, he became serious and asked about pain. When he asks this question, usually he has some interesting information for me. He knows pain is not a big concern for me.

Before we went into the subject, he was kidnapped by his staff. When he came back, I commented how busy he was. He agreed it was one of the busiest days. But his busiest was the day he had 25 patients waiting. It means the most unlucky patient had to wait for 5 hours… I imagined the pressure he was in. He told me that he’d rather enjoy pressure. For that reason, he enjoyed working at ICU. He explained how it was like working there. I asked if he misses it. He gave me an enthusiastic yes as if he would take it now if someone offered him the position.

We remembered that we were talking about pain… I went along with him and explained that pain becomes worse while I’m in payback and I was in pain after Poppy died. I commented I didn’t have physical exertion, but emotional distress.

He told me that it was not my imagination and he believes the pain is real. He continued to explain. People with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) also experience physical pain. When we look at their brain image, we can recognise Amygdala has shrunk. It causes to lower the pain threshold, therefore, people are in more pain. He gave me an example of a police officer who developed PTSD after witnessing dead bodies, some were children’s’. And his main symptom was pain.

I mentioned that I was aware that PTSD has something to do with my condition, although PTSD is not too bad now. As an agreement, he commented that my PTSD is from abondonment. It made me think. Does he mean “abondonment” as my action or as I was abondoned? I can say I was abondoned by my parents and my ex-husband. But I feel it is more like neglect with abuse, and both cases include direct and indirect threat for my life.

Dr TL also explained that there was this person whom I cannot remember her name. She introduced a theory of body and mind seperation. It was taken seriously by psychiatry school and the theory of “all in mind” was born.

I strongly expressed my opinion that mind and body cannot be separated. I didn’t say but I believe this; regardless of the origin of the condition is mind, once the physcal damage is done, physcial symptom should be treated as physical. As some doctor said, all illness is psychosomatic.

Dr TL agreed with me. I knew what he believed. And he was only giving me information. Sometimes, I need to speak out my mind. Now…, I regret that I interrupted him and didn’t let him tell all the information…

Then, there was this burning question while I was listening to him. Before I asked, he gave me the answer. The shurank Amygdala would grow back eventually. He also told me that PTSD can be cured with nurturing/caring environment and support. I wondered if Dr TL is giving me the nurturing/caring environment and support to heal me knowing I don’t have such environment…

He suggested to look up on Amygdala as it would be interesting for me.

It was my turn to give a little bit of knowledge I have. I mentioned a little bit about Amygdala Retraining Therapy. I wrongly believed that the treatment inventor was an American neurologist Dr Gupta who is very high up at AMA.

As for ME/CFS, hypothalamis is said to be linked to its symptoms. And there is a therapy called Mickel Therapy. I am undecided about the therapy at this point, although there are people who claim they were cured by the therapy. Dr TL quickly looked up it on internet, but didn’t have enough time to check the detail.

He is constantly looking for information for me. I expressed my concern that there are too many so-called-treatment that really deosn’t work at all (but costs lots of money). He said I need to be sceptical, but at the same time, I need to pick up the legitimate information. As if, it is an easy task…

He said he is there for me. He knows it is a difficult task for someone who doesn’t have medical background. He will check information and will explain it to me in simple language. I don’t have to do everything by myself. It was really nice to hear. I felt as if I was resting my head on his shoulder.

He told me I am mysterious. I’m not sure if he meant it for my symptoms or my personality. Whichever it is, he used it as a positive compliment. Mystery makes him think as well as he makes me think.

Amygdala will grow back. I will be able to handle fears and distress better one day. But it seems to be a very slow process and would take long time.I felt frustration.

“Don’t worry. I’m not in hurry.” He gave me the gentle smile and it reminded me that I am not all alone.

I looked up Amygdala. I checked my MRI images, but I cannot point my Amygdalas… I might take the images with me next time and ask Dr TL.

Posted in Doctors, ME/CFS Tagged: PTSD
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